Wild outlast Flames to win in 5th round of shootout
Mikael Granlund scores winner, Devan Dubnyk leaves game with injury
The road-weary Minnesota Wild went the extra mile again to get two points on Tuesday night.
Mikael Granlund scored the winning goal in a shootout for a 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames that stretched Minnesota's winning streak to three — the first two coming in overtime on a weeklong California trip that ended Sunday.
The shootout against Calgary reached the fifth round before Granlund beat Mike Smith. Alex Stalock then stopped Michael Ferland to seal it.
The Wild overcame a slow start to win for the sixth time in their last seven home games.
"We were kind of on our heels. Sometimes that happens when you come off the West Coast swing," said Matt Cullen, who scored Minnesota's lone goal in regulation. "We just had a hard time getting our legs going, but I thought that we dug down when we needed it."
Matt Cullen tallied his 250th <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NHL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NHL</a> goal tonight 👏 <a href="https://t.co/aLxoLlpI1S">pic.twitter.com/aLxoLlpI1S</a>—@mnwild
Smith made 21 saves for Calgary, while Stalock stopped 16 shots in two periods plus overtime for the Wild. He replaced injured goalie Devan Dubnyk after the first.
The Flames earned a point for the fourth straight game, their longest streak of the season, but coach Glen Gulutzan thought his team deserved a better outcome.
"I look at it a little bit more as missed opportunities," said Gulutzan, whose team went 0 for 3 on the power play. "I thought we played well tonight. I thought we were the better team for most of the minutes, but our specialty teams weren't good enough."
Calgary dominated the puck throughout the first period and carried a 10-1 advantage in shots on goal 17 minutes in. But after the Wild killed off the second Flames power play of the frame, Minnesota's second and third shots on net produced the game's first goal.
Ryan Suter took a shot from the top of the left circle that Smith turned aside. Joel Eriksson Ek took a whack at the rebound before Cullen poked it in to put Minnesota on top 1-0.
What. A. Rocket. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CGYvsMIN?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CGYvsMIN</a> <a href="https://t.co/MMK1f6irvG">pic.twitter.com/MMK1f6irvG</a>—@NHLFlames
The Flames tied it with just more than a minute left in the second period on Ferland's 12th goal of the season. Ferland fired a slap shot from centre point that deflected off Wild defenceman Jonas Brodin and beat Stalock over his left shoulder.
Stalock entered at the start of the second period in place of Dubnyk, who stopped all 10 shots he saw in the first but was removed after aggravating a lower-body injury. The team wouldn't speculate on the severity of his injury, but Chris Stewart, who kept Minnesota in it with a goal in the second round of the shootout, expressed his teammates' confidence in Stalock.
"He's a true professional, and as soon as he got the call we could see it in his eyes. You knew he was going to be ready," Stewart said. "If Alex is going to be carrying the load here, we're confident in him."
Ferland missed a golden opportunity to give Calgary the lead early in the third when Johnny Gaudreau got Stalock out of position and fed the puck across the slot to Ferland. Staring at an open net, Ferland hit the crossbar with a wrist shot.
"I couldn't have been more wide open," Ferland said. "Johnny made a great play and I should have put that in."
But even going home with one point instead of two was a step in the right direction for the Flames, who had lost five of seven before their recent point streak.
"The last four games we've gained some traction with the areas that we were struggling with early in the season," Smith said. "It's showed up in the wins column and the points column."